An Intimate Summer Wedding at the Historic Oakland in Baltimore, Maryland

For their wedding, Janeen Hill (34 and a recovery analyst) and Ashley Washington (34 and a director of academic success) planned an intimate shabby-chic affair in their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. While the couple call Atlanta, Georgia, home, celebrating their marriage in front of their families and friends was important and hosting the festivities in Maryland allowed them to do just that. When searching for a venue, finding a location that was LGBTQ friendly and also affordable and flexible was high on Janeen and Ashley’s priority list. The Historic Oakland offered all that and more. The day started with an intimate outdoor ceremony in the historic venue’s gardens, where Janeen surprised Ashley by donning a classic A-line gown for the affair. “Janeen is a jeans-and-sneakers girl, and she stressed that she was wearing pants for the wedding, which is of course was what I expected,” Ashley says. “But when I finally saw her, she was in a full-length gown! My jaw dropped and tears fell.” The newlyweds and their guests then moved into the Historic Oakland’s beautifully appointed dining room for a night filled with delectable soul food dishes and lots of dancing. Ashley and Janeen went for a cheerful yellow and white color palette for the day, which was reflective of both the summer season and the happy occasion. The couple decorated the Historic Oakland’s dining room with pale sunshine-colored linens and bright bunches of white and yellow blooms arranged in tin vases for a shabby-chic effect. At the end of the evening, the couple sent guests home with “love jars,” decorative mason jars filled with ornate blank paper. They encouraged their friends and family members to write love notes to their partner or themselves, then save them to read on New Year’s Eve. A tip for the taking from Ashley and Janeen: “Plan the day for you, not for others. Focus on your comfort and enjoyment. Neither one of us was a bridezilla and it really allowed us to just enjoy our big day. Something will go wrong, but as long as the two of you show up, it's all good. You will attend numerous weddings, but yours only once. Drink it in.”